The EU looks at fracking: regulations taking shape

By Teresa Hitchcock

Hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, to extract shale gas from deep rock formations, has recently been much in the news in Europe.

In October, the European Parliament, which was considering proposals for a revision of the EU Directive on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), voted to make EIA mandatory for all projects for the exploration of non-conventional hydrocarbons (i.e. shale gas and oil and coal gas) by hydraulic fracturing, but not for certain exploration works.

At about the same time, the EU Commission announced it had started work on a proposal to provide a level playing field on shale gas development by preparing draft EU legislation to govern wider aspects of this type of project. It is thought this will address water pollution issues, the use of chemicals and the impacts of infrastructure development…

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